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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-20-2015, 01:35 PM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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Loud "Road Noise", not tire related.

My 02 540it has what sounds like road noise, but isn't. i can hear the actual road noise on my summer tires, and when i switched to my winter tires i heard the normal road noise associated with winter tires, but the underlying "road noise" was still there.

I have been searching for various causes and i think i am leaning towards my CSB, but the noise associated with the drive shaft seem to be more pinging or clunking. Has anybody had driveshaft noises sound like road noise? The noise is speed dependent, and is really noticeable above 50mph. Below about 40mph it is hard to hear if present at all. It sounds like it might be coming from the back or the middle of the car. It is really hard to pinpoint.

i have replaced all bearings within the last 2 years. the noise does not change with direction. It does not seem to be associated with loading or unloading of weight. I have just changed the diff fluid without any change in sound. All lift points accounted for. No apparent rubbing on the tires.

Thanks,

G~
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2015, 01:48 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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In my experience this type of noise usually happens with wheel bearing failure. (I know you said you replaced all of them.).

A few years ago my wife's 528iT was making a loud snow tire noise. When I took the snows off in the spring, the noise continued. It was a LR wheel bearing. I suppose your noise could be an axle shaft CV joint or an output bearing in the diff but the rear CVs usually don't fail and they rumble badly at high speed when they do and the diff bearings whine when they fail.

Last edited by johnstern; 01-20-2015 at 01:53 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-20-2015, 02:00 PM
540nj 540nj is offline
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Make sure your jack pads and underbody trim is attached also.

dave
03 540i6
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  #4  
Old 01-20-2015, 02:12 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Id say wheel bearings. I had the same issue and it was solved by changing rear wheel bearings. Car became so much quieter.
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  #5  
Old 01-20-2015, 02:37 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is online now
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Could be drive shaft bearing if you hear the noise coming from the middle of the car.
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2015, 10:14 AM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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i had to get somebody to replace the left side rear bearing because it was so stuck i could not do it, and by the looks of it, they also had quite the time, so i guess it could be that. the sound does not seem to change whether i am going left or right. it is always there.

anybody know of any good way to test the rear bearings besides the left/right turn sound change method?

G~
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2015, 10:23 AM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefin' Dude View Post
i had to get somebody to replace the left side rear bearing because it was so stuck i could not do it, and by the looks of it, they also had quite the time, so i guess it could be that. the sound does not seem to change whether i am going left or right. it is always there.

anybody know of any good way to test the rear bearings besides the left/right turn sound change method?

G~
Jack up the rear end, put in neutral, release the hand brake, grab the wheel at 9 and 3 positions, try to move around to see if there is any play or loose, spin the wheel to hear if there is any noises.
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2015, 10:31 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefin' Dude View Post
i had to get somebody to replace the left side rear bearing because it was so stuck i could not do it, and by the looks of it, they also had quite the time, so i guess it could be that. the sound does not seem to change whether i am going left or right. it is always there.

anybody know of any good way to test the rear bearings besides the left/right turn sound change method?

G~
A good trick is to jack up the rear and hold the spring with your fingers and turn the wheel with other hand. You'll can feel any roughness of the wheel bearing in the spring.
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2015, 11:30 AM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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i have tried it and it seems difficult to tell if any of the sound is bearing noise/vibratoin or CV/differential noise/vibration, but i will give it another go and see if i can tell a difference between the two sides. i do not feel any movement though.

unfortunately i do not have any springs on my car. it has the airbag system. i will try using something else hard mounted to the wheel carrier.

do people think that the most likely culprit would be a wheel bearing and not the CSV? i do think it sounds like a bearing sound, but i have not seen many instances of people describing a CSV wearing out as a bearing sound. more like pings and clunks.

G~
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2015, 12:27 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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One option would be to put the rear end on jack stands, turn of the dsc off and get the rear wheels up to speed where you can hear the noise and listen where the noise is coming from. If you do this be 100% sure that the car is securely on jackstands and front wheels are chocked properly.
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2015, 09:33 PM
kashill kashill is offline
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+1 on wheel bearings.
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  #12  
Old 04-13-2015, 12:51 PM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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just an update. since i started this thread the road noise had gotten worse. i was able to quiet it by turning right. must be the right rear wheel bearing. i replaced the right rear wheel bearing over the weekend, and the sound is still there. i noticed a lot of grease on the lower arm pivot bolt. i inspected the boots around the CV joint, but they look solid. i can not think of anything else in that area that would hold that much grease. i am wondering if it is the passenger half shaft. to be more specific the CV joint in that half shaft. what does a CV joint going bad sound like in a rear wheel drive car. i have heard plenty of CV joints going bad in front wheel drive car. a distinctive clicking sound.

the sound still goes away with sharp turns to the right. minor turns to the right do not make the sound go away.

ideas?

Thanks,

G~
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  #13  
Old 04-13-2015, 02:07 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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front right wheel bearing?
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  #14  
Old 04-14-2015, 12:16 PM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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the sound is definitely coming from the back of the car. it is noted by people sitting in any seat in the vehicle.

while doing the rear bearing i did notice a very unusual wear pattern on the tires, which probably will help point to the cause. the inside 1 inch or so is extremely worn down compared to the rest of the tread. i will try and get a picture tonight when i rotate the tires. the wear does not look like normal camber wear. i know the tires are not rubbing on suspension or other car bits. i have released the air from the suspension and the car sat all the way down to the ground like it should without fuss. if something were rubbing i would have heard it rubbing.

G~
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  #15  
Old 04-14-2015, 12:31 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Uneven tire wear can cause quite a bit of noise. I would start checking the rear suspension for any worn components.
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  #16  
Old 04-14-2015, 12:36 PM
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mjalloul11 mjalloul11 is offline
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How old are the tiers? And try running with low pressure-20,25psi- and listen to the rumble.
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  #17  
Old 04-15-2015, 06:16 AM
Rogerthat Rogerthat is offline
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Subaru experience. Have had similar growl from rear end. Replaced the bad wheel bearing and waited on the other. Then the other went out with the same increasing growl. You said you replaced left Wheel bearing, I would now do the right and see what happens. While you are at it, I would look at the trailing arm bushings causing alignment to go out. Good luck
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  #18  
Old 04-16-2015, 12:38 PM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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i just ordered a set of rear ball joints. i am not sure when they were last replaced, meaning i do not have a record of it from the previous owner, and the car now has 170K on it.

the tires have less than 20,000 on them.

i am hesitant to remove replace the other bearing since replacing the passenger side one did nothing to change the sound, and that was the one indicated by turning to the right.

G~
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  #19  
Old 04-30-2015, 12:08 PM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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update:

replaced both rear ball joints. also swapped out the differential. noise is still there and still behaves the same.

G~
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